Scientists have confirmed the existence of a “lost continent” under the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. It is left over by the break-up of the super-continent Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.
The discovery was based on study of Zircon, a mineral found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions which is too old to belong to Mauritius.
- The lost continent is just a small piece of island that probably broke of when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up and formed the Indian Ocean.
- The scientists found zircons on the island of Mauritius that are three billion years old. These remnants are too old to belong to Mauritius as it has no rock older than nine million years old.
- The piece of crust of lost continent was subsequently covered by young lava during volcanic eruptions. There are many pieces of various sizes of undiscovered continent which are collectively called as Mauritius.
What are Zircons?
Zircons are minerals that occur mainly in granite from the continents. They contain trace amounts of uranium, thorium and lead. They can survive geological processes. They contain a rich record and can be dated extremely accurately.